Balance the books

“The failure of our early film industry was a power­ful warning for artists and politicians. It set the context for the Conservative government’s decision in 1932 to intervene in the communications market and to create a national public broadcaster, the original CBC. Following the Second World War, Canada saw a remarkable growth in cultural awareness, buttressed by policies and programs that gave Canadians more space to express our cultures and identities. Music, theatre, radio, and museums all benefited, as did publishing. But today many of those working in the literary arts, especially independent publishers, are sounding alarm bells.”

Victor Rabinovitch – Literary Review of Canada – May 2020

The doomed 30-year battle to stop a pandemic

“You will be disappointed or relieved to learn that, despite this grim little stroll down memory lane, this is not a story that attempts to blame Justin Trudeau for a global pandemic. The ‘severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2,’ to use the devious beastie’s formal name, had already jumped plenty of international firewalls before it started to wreak havoc in Canada. The most lurid example of system failure and leadership abdication, with a human cost proportionately far higher than in Canada, was taking place next door in Donald Trump’s United States.”

Paul Wells – Maclean’s – April 2020

The art of turning fish into leather

“Chang peels a folded salmon skin from one of the bags and flattens it on the table. ‘You can really have at her,’ she says, demonstrating how to use the edge of the stone to rub away every fiber of flesh. The scales on the other side of the skin will have to go too. On a sockeye skin, they come off easily if scraped from tail to head, she adds, ‘like rubbing a cat backwards.’ The skin must be clean, otherwise it will rot or fail to absorb tannins that will help transform it into leather.”

Chloe Williams – Hakai Magazine – April 2020

That Time Vice Paid A “Hacker” $5,000 For A Fake Rob Ford Story

“A hush fell over the reporters gathered outside the mayor’s office. Everyone appeared to be skimming the story at once, another astonishing branch of the Ford saga seeming to sprout before our eyes. It was exactly as plausible as everything that had come before it and everything that would come after. Except that it was false. Just completely bogus. And Vice had paid $5,000 in cash for the privilege of running it.”

Jonathan Goldsbie – Canadaland – April 2020

Is recycling futile?

“We Albertans find it hard to resist the allure of produce perfectly packaged in plastic clamshells. The containers are convenient—the strawberries, cherry tomatoes and blackberries are gloriously free of grubby-finger jabs and travel-induced bruising. But when the berries are gone and the clamshells sit yawning and empty, they cause real headaches for the people tasked with recycling them.”

Niki Wilson – Alberta Views – March 2020

China kidnapped two Canadians. What will it take to free them?

“The Michaels’ fates have taken on added resonance with a difficult decision facing the federal government: should Huawei, a global telecom giant with strong ties to the Chinese state, be allowed to build part of Canada’s emerging 5G network? On top of being labelled a national security threat by Western spy chiefs, the company has been under investigation in the U.S. for years, accused of breaking sanctions against Iran—and it was recently charged in the U.S. with racketeering and conspiring to steal trade secrets. Would a decision to give Huawei the green light—or a decision to bar it from being involved—have any bearing on the Michaels’ freedom? Pundits and insiders have debated those questions for months as diplomats work behind closed doors.”

Nick Taylor-Vaisey and Jason Markusoff – Maclean’s – March 2020

Why Aren’t We Free to Age on Our Own Terms?

Sharon J. Riley – The Walrus – March 2020